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  • Writer's pictureDr. Patrick E. Crawford

Shifting the Mindset

Leadership Thoughts | Issue #116

Have you ever had a shift in your mindset? I sometimes describe this as; before, I thought X, but now, I think Y! These adjustments can be minor; for instance, “I initially didn't enjoy vegetables, but now I can appreciate them.” Or they can be much more significant changes, such as, “Previously, I believed being a teacher was all about imparting knowledge and controlling the class. However, effective teachers create positive relationships with their students and create ideal learning experiences to match the student's needs.”

Mindset comprises our convictions, inclinations, and points of view: these serve as a way for us to see the world and manage obstacles while bettering ourselves and reaching success. The power of the mind and intellect profoundly shape our thoughts, actions, and, eventually, the outcomes we experience.

At Wilson College, I teach a Master of Education in Mass Customized Learning program course called, Shifting the Mindset. Through this class, we learn how to recognize and change our fixed mindset into a growth mindset and encourage others to do the same. We investigate how our ideas and beliefs about teaching and learning shape our behavior and impact our students. We discover the fundamental principles of shifting the mindset, equipping ourselves with the understanding and resources to positively influence our state of mind and that of those around us.

Mindset Basics

When exploring mindset basics, we start to comprehend our outlook's immense sway on our personal and professional lives. We recognize how our convictions and dispositions form our ideas, sentiments, and actions, eventually impacting the results we acquire. This cognizance furnishes us with the ability to command our mindset, battle opposed beliefs, and accept an increment-centered attitude that grows our possibilities. We begin a life-altering journey of self-exploration and individual progression. We can arm ourselves with the information and resources to triumph over self-imposed boundaries, welcome difficulties as chances for growth, and breed a mindset that endows us with the capacity to flourish in adversity.

The two contrasting mindsets that have gained considerable attention are the growth and fixed mindsets. The study of growth versus fixed mindset delves into the underlying beliefs and attitudes that shape our approach to challenges, failures, and the pursuit of excellence. By understanding these mindsets and their implications, we can unlock the transformative power of adopting a growth mindset and overcome the limitations of a fixed mindset.

The distinction between fixed and growth mindsets is the basis of understanding mindsets. A fixed mindset exists when we think our abilities, intelligence, and talents are unchanging characteristics that cannot be improved upon. Opposite to this, a growth mindset believes that through effort, hard work, and learning, we can expand and enhance our skills, knowledge, and competencies.

Mindset Shifts

Although fixed and growth mindsets have recently generated the most attention, different mindset basic concepts can help individuals change their perspectives, beliefs, and attitudes to promote personal growth, development, and success. Here are some fundamental mindset shifts that are often studied and practiced:

  1. Abundance Mindset: Adopt the belief that ample opportunities, resources, and successes exist. This mindset fosters a positive outlook, gratitude, and the ability to see possibilities rather than limitations.

  2. Embracing Failure: View failure as data. Instead of fearing failure, reframe it as a valuable learning experience that provides insights and lessons for improvement.

  3. Embracing Change: Develop a mindset that embraces change and sees it as an opportunity for personal growth and adaptation. Recognize that change is inevitable and focus on learning, flexibility, and innovation.

  4. Ownership and Responsibility: Take ownership of your actions, choices, and outcomes. Recognize that you have the power to influence your circumstances and accept responsibility for your own growth and success.

  5. Embracing Challenges: Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and self-improvement. Instead of avoiding difficult situations, actively seek out challenges that push your limits and help you develop new skills.

  6. Learning Orientation: Cultivate a love for continuous learning and personal development. Embrace curiosity, explore new ideas, seek knowledge, and pursue lifelong learning in various areas of interest.

  7. Collaboration and Cooperation: Shift from a competitive mindset to one that values collaboration and cooperation. Recognize that working with others and leveraging collective strengths can lead to better outcomes and shared success.

These mindset concepts can support personal growth, resilience, and a positive outlook on life. Studying and practicing these concepts can help individuals develop a more empowering and effective mindset.

Learn More about Shifting the Mindset

  • For those who want to learn more about Shifting the Mindset and how it relates to Mass Customized Learning, I suggest looking into Bea McGarvey's series of learning paths on Eduplanet 21:

  • Additionally, if you're searching for the Wilson College graduate course on Shifting the Mindset, contact Dr. Eric Michael at

  • The Pennsylvania Leadership Development Center offers a 40-credit hour PIL class called Leading Change, focusing on Shifting the Mindset and creating positive mental models. For more information on this program, contact Dr. Patrick Crawford:


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